In attendance: Kim Borden, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Leslie Fisher-Katz, Children’s Study Home, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Kara Knott, UMass, Amanda Lesnick, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Spencer Moser, MCLA, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Jordan O’Connell, CHD,Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Phil Ringwood, DIAL/SELF, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jen Sutherland, Springfield Public Schools, Tyrese Tillman, CHD, Rhonda Young, CHD
Needs Assessments report-out:
We reviewed some central findings of both 3 County and Hampden County CoCs needs assessments on the youth population.
For the 3 County report, please go here.
The Hampden County CoC has created a new youth homelessness website – go to http://undertheradarspringfield.org to get connected and to read its needs assessment go to: https://www.undertheradarspringfield.org/the-report
HUD awards Western MA $4.3 million for its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects (YHDP)! We celebrated this tremendous accomplishment for the region – out of 23 awards nationwide, Western MA got two of them! Specifically, Hampden County received $2.4 million and Franklin County received $1.9 million. CONGRATULATIONS to all!
The first step: each community must produce a broad, coordinated community PLAN to prevent and end youth homelessness that includes all systems (DCF, DYS, family shelter system, etc.). The draft must be presented to HUD by 12/29, then followed by a review and discussion and revisions with HUD before finalizing by the end of April. The plan will include a road map for allocating the funding to specific agencies to accomplish specific goals (e.g., rapid rehousing, PSH, transitional housing, support services).
The grants are for 2 years and the funding will be divided over that time. Whatever goes into programming becomes part of the CoC’s renewable grants for each NOFA (forever impact!).
A defining piece of this work is engaging youth who will lead it. We are working WITH them, not for them. Each CoC has established a Youth Action Board (YAB) already which will provide the vehicle for youth leadership.
The best use of this Committee to support this effort: After discussion, it was decided that the Committee meetings over the next 4 months would be utilized as a gathering point to begin or deepen important relationships and understanding around particular issues with relevant staff. We agreed on this list of issues/agencies:
- human trafficking (outreach at Baystate, Sheriff’s offices, YWCA?)
- corrections (outreach at sheriff’s department, AISS, ROCA)
- pregnant and parenting youth (will happen in Dec., after EA RFR is submitted; will reach out to: Square One, Care Center, Healthy Families, Teen Living Programs – YWCA)
- high school/college – McKinney Vento and single point of contacts for college
- DCF (since currently around our table, will go next round in January – will reach out further to Laurie Sullivan of DCF; will deepen discussion on how to reach out to youth who are leaving DCF and refuse continuing services)
- workforce development – Pamela will enlist the Network’s Career Services committee to further this conversation around targeting employment paths for youth
Other issues that surfaced:
- LGBTQ for Hampden County (Three County already has an infrastructure in place to address this)
- Mentoring (Hampden County has a focus on this that is underway)
- Gun violence
- Food insecurity
- Recovery services community
We agreed our next committee meeting will focus on trafficking, specifically: increasing the understanding of this issue in Western MA, the challenges, the opportunities for intervention; learning from youth about what they are experiencing, how prevention can work; how to train agency staff to respond. Pamela and Gerry will work on trainer invitations to the meeting.
Next meeting dates:
10/24, 9:30-11, Kittredge center Room 303
11/20, 9:30-11, Kittredge Center, Room 303
12/18, 9:30-11 Frost 309